A well-known local film company is in hot water for not following laws in film and fishing while shooting a piece on fly fishing for Montana’s bull trout, which is only legal on a few waters in the state. After a two year investigation Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the US Forest Service are throwing the law at Montana Wild. Read on for the full story from our friends at Angling Trade.
By Geoff Mueller, via Angling Trade
If you commit a crime—and hope to get away with it—best not film those exploits and share them with the public. Case in point, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and the United States Forest Service’s (USFS) last week released results from a two-year investigation targeting Montana Wild, the Missoula-based flyfishing film company that did just that.
Montana Wild produces hunting and fishing videos on its website and is owned and operated by brothers Zach and Travis Boughton. Their films are also known entities in the flyfishing community. They’ve been featured in the Simms Shoot Out, on The Drake Magazine’s Flyfishing Video Awards, and as part of the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) lineup in recent years. But it was video footage from a 2013 trip to Montana’s Bob Marshall wilderness that has recently become Montana Wild’s pièce de résistance—for all the wrong reasons.
The saga started when the Boughton brothers and associate Anthony Von Ruden violated federal law by venturing onto USFS lands to shoot a commercial film on bull trout fishing without proper permits. And they violated state law, 38 citations total, by illegally targeting bull trout in South Fork Flathead River tributaries on the same trip. Perhaps worse, sifting through more than 2,200 videos obtained by search warrant produced evidence of Montana Wild “…messing with the fish for 15, even 20 minutes,” said FWP Criminal Investigator Brian Sommers. “There were some they’d release, that would just go right to the bottom and lay there.”
Montana Wild has since been slapped with close to $6,000 in fines. The Boughtons pleaded guilty to 11 federal citations involving illegal commercial filming in and near the Bob Marshall Wilderness. They, and Von Ruden, also plead guilty to 38 state violations for intentionally fishing for bull trout in closed waters, failing to immediately release bull trout, and failing to report a bull trout on the required FWP catch card.
In addition, this series of failures led to a film trailer on bull trout fishing in “the Bob” that was quickly dropped from the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) website after “…we learned that Montana Wild hadn’t procured a permit to film in the wilderness,” says F3T spokesperson Ryan Thompson.
In a statement released this week on their website, the Boughtons. . . Read the entire story HERE